Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova and Latvian Anastasia Sevastova became the first two players to make it to the 2018 China Open quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Cibulkova, who had shown sparkling form last week at the Wuhan Open by beating Simona Halep and Daria Kasatkina overcame a firm challenge from world number nine and former US Open winner, Sloane Stephens, winning in three sets 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
And her opponent in her last-eight match will be Sevastova, who followed her to the quarter-finals stage with an easy straight-set win over Donna Vekic. She won 6-3, 6-2 against Vekic, after having overcome Alize Cornet in her opening round match and having got a walkover in round two by an injured Madison Keys.
In some of the other matches in the day, the second seeded Caroline Wozniacki was a straight-set winner over Petra Martic while seventh seeded Karolina Pliskova defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3, 6-4 to enter round three.
Wozniacki had earlier quelled the Swiss challenge of Belinda Bencic in straight sets while Pliskova had been a straight-set victor against Australia’s Samantha Stosur in their respective round one matches.
Interestingly, Pliskova will now take on Wanq Qiang in her third round match, an opponent she played against as recently as the previous week in Wuhan. It was a round of 32 encounter, and Pliskova was stunned by Wang in a three-setter.
Wang, who had made it to the third round at the US Open earlier this year, followed it up with a semi-final appearance at Osaka before she won the second WTA title of her career at Guangzhou. She didn’t drop a single set en route that title.
Currently ranked 28th in the world, this is Wang’s best ranking of her career, having helped no ends by her semi-final entry at Wuhan. She continued her brilliant form here with a 6-0, 6-0 drubbing of Jelena Ostapenko in round two after having had an opening bye.
Incidentally, both Pliskova and Wozniacki are still hunting for that elusive WTA Finals berth and depending on their results this week, they might qualify for that tournament.
In some of the other third round fixtures that will be played on Thursday, third seeded Angelique Kerber takes on Shuai Zhang, eighth seeded Naomi Osaka plays 10th seeded Julia Goerges, while fourth seeded Caroline Garcia will be up against Aryna Sabalenka. Get the latest China Open tips here.